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New grads in float positions

Posted

Any thoughts, experiences, words of wisdoms?

I graduate in April and am interested in a new grad float position at a local hospital. It appeals to me because working as an LPN the last 8 years, I have been happiest at jobs with variety and seeing different (Co-worker and manager) faces every day. I have noticed your not pulled into the politics/dramatics as much which appeals to me because I am not one for either of those. I get a long with most everyone so I have been able to adjust to each team dynamics fairly well. But this is all in ambulatory care which is completely different from hospital nursing.

I am concerned about entering an entirely new nursing environment and switching floors every shift. It is a new grad residency so comes with the 12 week orientation plus extra support.

In your experiences do new grads usually have difficulty floating? I don't want to set myself up for failure at all.

BlueDawnRN, BSN

Specializes in Progressive Care. Has 7 years experience.

At my hospital you need critical care experience in order to be a float nurse. They can float you anywhere: ER, ICU, tele, and you have to have had experience in all types of floors. I'm not sure how it works in your hospital.

In my experience new grads aren't even allowed to be pulled to another similar floor until they've had at least 6 months on their own floor.

The float nurses I know are among the best nurses in the hospital and they've had to work a while to get to that point. It's a great goal to have though. I hear the pay is great.

I'm sure your LPN experience will help you go far as an RN. Best of luck.

brownbook

Has 36 years experience.

I was the dumbest most inexperienced nurse ever graduated with an ADN. I got all A's in my classes, but bed side patient care scared me to death. Before nursing school I knew nothing about hospitals. I thought they were where you went to have babies or die!

My first job was in a float pool and I did fine! Being comfortable with floating is a personality trait, liking variety, avoiding politics/dynamics, etc. I have floated my entire 32 years nursing career in four different hospitals in a wide range of nursing fields.

You sound like the perfect float nurse, don't let the "floating is for experienced critical care experienced nurses only" scare you.

AceOfHearts<3

Specializes in Critical care.

If floating doesn't work out will they work with you to place you permanently on a unit?

I peronally wouldn't want to start out as a float nurse, but then again I was lucky enough to land in a unit with wonderful coworkers. Many float nurses have commented how great my unit is (staff wise, not patient wise) and we have float nurses asking my manager about specifically picking up hours on our unit (plus aides from another unit who all happily volunteer to fill in our holes).

I look at some of our new nurses fresh off orientation and couldn't imagine them floating. I wouldn't treat a new grad float nurse any differently than my units new grads, but it doesn't seem ideal to me.

At my hospital you need critical care experience in order to be a float nurse. They can float you anywhere: ER, ICU, tele, and you have to have had experience in all types of floors. I'm not sure how it works in your hospital.

In my experience new grads aren't even allowed to be pulled to another similar floor until they've had at least 6 months on their own floor.

The float nurses I know are among the best nurses in the hospital and they've had to work a while to get to that point. It's a great goal to have though. I hear the pay is great.

I'm sure your LPN experience will help you go far as an RN. Best of luck.

That makes sense and is more along the lines what I was thinking that the experienced nurses float so I was surprised to see the position marketed at new grads. Thanks for the insight!

I was the dumbest most inexperienced nurse ever graduated with an ADN. I got all A's in my classes, but bed side patient care scared me to death. Before nursing school I knew nothing about hospitals. I thought they were where you went to have babies or die!

My first job was in a float pool and I did fine! Being comfortable with floating is a personality trait, liking variety, avoiding politics/dynamics, etc. I have floated my entire 32 years nursing career in four different hospitals in a wide range of nursing fields.

You sound like the perfect float nurse, don't let the "floating is for experienced critical care experienced nurses only" scare you.

That's good and helpful to hear, thanks for sharing!!

If floating doesn't work out will they work with you to place you permanently on a unit?

I peronally wouldn't want to start out as a float nurse, but then again I was lucky enough to land in a unit with wonderful coworkers. Many float nurses have commented how great my unit is (staff wise, not patient wise) and we have float nurses asking my manager about specifically picking up hours on our unit (plus aides from another unit who all happily volunteer to fill in our holes).

I look at some of our new nurses fresh off orientation and couldn't imagine them floating. I wouldn't treat a new grad float nurse any differently than my units new grads, but it doesn't seem ideal to me.

I am not sure and that is definitely a good question to ask if I get an interview because I am not naïve enough to believe it will work out no matter what. I think my worry is in not landing on a good floor. I have been in LTC as well and I think it gave me a complex because many of the work environments are toxic in LTC due to all the stress and burn out. I am hoping to find its different in the hospital, at least on some floors.

MrNurse(x2), ADN

Specializes in IMC, school nursing. Has 28 years experience.

My former employer decided that this is the best way to deal with new grads. They gave a six month orientation, a great thing! Then they set them loose to work on the various units. This is a dual edged sword, as it gave an orientation that was 2-3 times longer than normal, but the various units caused information overload. They are also less prone to oversight by floating, allowing errors to go undetected and chances for those teachable moments to be few. Your prior LPN experience matters and should negate most of the negatives I see in this type of position.

IF they are advertising for new grads to be in a float pool, I must assume they know that new grads don't know much and will not be able to hit the floors running with no more orientation than, "Here's the supply room, here's the code to get into the med room, and this is where we post the assignments." Therefore they must be prepared to give their new grads a pretty decent orientation to each of a variety of specialties, and, presumably, expect that at one of the stops along the way in this wide-ranging orientation they will say, "Y'know, I think I'd like to stay here."

IF they do that, fine.

IF they expect to give you the standard 1-week orientation to P&P, paperwork, and parking passes, then if I were a new grad I wouldn't touch this with a ten-foot pole, as I would be endangering patients and myself.

I know it's affirming to hear, "Hey, I was a clueless new grad and this worked out great for me," but still, look to see what they're really offering.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

As previous posts indicate, Float Pools are not all alike. I worked for a place once that had a Float Pool that regularly hired new grads. They provided a good general overall orientation so that the new grads were able to go to the various units as "helpers" or prepared to take the more stable assignments. Most often, after 6-12 months, the new grad found that she liked a certain unit better than others and would transfer into that unit, where she would undergo a second brief orientation to focus on the more advanced patient care, details about that specialty, etc.

At my current hospital, float nurses are expected to take full assignments that include fairly sick patients. Only highly skilled, experienced nurses are allowed in the Float Pool. It's a different population of nurses, with different things expected of them.

As long as there is a good match between what you want to do, are prepared to, and are expected to do ... it's OK.

BlueDawnRN, BSN

Specializes in Progressive Care. Has 7 years experience.

I was the one who made the first post about float nurses at my hospital needing critical care experience. If the position is for new grads then yes go for it! They probably won't be floating you to the ICU. Just make sure they have adequate training for you. Was just saying the requirements for float at my hospital but I see it's not the same everywhere.

Edited by BlueDawnRN

BlueDawnRN, BSN

Specializes in Progressive Care. Has 7 years experience.

I was the dumbest most inexperienced nurse ever graduated with an ADN. I got all A's in my classes, but bed side patient care scared me to death. Before nursing school I knew nothing about hospitals. I thought they were where you went to have babies or die!

My first job was in a float pool and I did fine! Being comfortable with floating is a personality trait, liking variety, avoiding politics/dynamics, etc. I have floated my entire 32 years nursing career in four different hospitals in a wide range of nursing fields.

You sound like the perfect float nurse, don't let the "floating is for experienced critical care experienced nurses only" scare you.

That's great. I was just stating the requirements for float nurses at my hospital but I see it's not the same everywhere. It looks like it's a position for new grads and as long as they have good training I'm sure it's fine.

Edited by BlueDawnRN

anchorRN, BSN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in ICU, Military. Has 18 years experience.

I think a float pool position as a new grad RN is a bad idea, however your experience as an LPN certainly would help smooth out the learning curve. You would be more prepared than say, a brand new nurse never working in a hospital, imo. I personally hate to float and even with 13 years experience as an ICU RN I still get anxiety when I have to float to another unit. Not knowing the individual unit's policies and stockrooms, etc is a big deal to me. Plus, not working with people you know and trust is another issue I have never particularly liked. A 4 month orientation is nice, but i would think 6 months or more would be a better idea.

NotYourMamasRN

Specializes in Float Pool - A Little Bit of Everything. Has 6 years experience.

I have done pretty much nothing but float. I couldn't until I had 1 year of RN experience at a few hospitals and 2 years at others. Main thing I would point out is that you don't float everywhere until you have been oriented everywhere. So until I had been oriented to a few departments, I could not float all over every shift. I could go to other departments to task before being oriented, but they wouldn't give me a patient load.

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

Ask about your orientation (I apologize if you already have discussed this in the post). The pool where I work orients you to each floor for a few shifts each I believe. I think in total they get 6 weeks orientation. You're not a new nurse, and I think as an LPN you'll do better than most because you already have so much of it down. Just try to think about what would be new for each floor and ask if they will provide you with floor - specific policies (holding heparin, bladder scans, etc). I think you'll do great! :) I wouldn't want to do it because where I went to school is notorious for pulling floats every 4 hours. BUT you will get GREAT experience and see a lot. As long as your orientation is decent, I'd say go for it!

I worked a float nurse with only about a year of floor experience. I was not allowed to float to the ER or ICU but as a whole I really enjoyed it. I agree with you, I avoided drama and I liked the variety. I actually think it's a great experience and more people should do it. I highly recommend being honest with your leadership and your self, if you feel like something is a bit much, say something. I received excellent support for the most part but ultimately I left the float position because the hospital struggled with a culture problem of being mean to float nurses. (I never understood that, you would be short without me and having a very busy day.)

foggnm

Has 8 years experience.

It sounds like with your past experience and 12 week orientation you will be poised for success. Go for it!